A friend of mine recently forwarded the website Stuff White People Like to me with the subject heading: “it\’s so funny because it\’s so true!” A quick Google search shows that it has prompted a deluge of media hype, and even a few imitators (Stuff Asian People Like and Stuff White Parents Like, to name a couple).
The site is amusing, to be sure, possessing all the subtle nuance of a child loudly proclaiming that the Emperor is not wearing any clothes… however, the comedy is the equivalent of a one-joke Saturday Night Live skit that goes waaay too long. Ephemerally droll, but lacking any profound wit or insight.
Even at a cursory glance one can quickly discern that the intent is not so much a satire of broader “white” culture (whatever that might be) but a cheeky lampooning of a certain subcategory of a subcategory… in this case: the educated upper-middle class suburban consumerist neo-Yuppies that have made Starbucks and Apple nationwide Leviathans of industry. The “Grups” and the “Bobos” in the parlance of our times.
With that said, what exactly is the allure or novelty?
The author, an aspiring comedy writer, started the site a couple months ago, primarily as a sort of self-deprecating inside-joke about his own preferences and predilections. Three months and 22 million visitors later, he has a book deal with Random House. Not bad.
Despite my truculence about the frivolity of this endeavor, there are deeper aspects of it that I can appreciate:
“…White people have long been the easy butt of jokes, but the appeal of Stuff White People Like is not just in its observations, but its general contention that those who think they\’re as unique as a snowflake (and perhaps have the same pigmentation) are really engaging in groupthink…”
Pithy, but adequate.
While I might have my own reasons of conscience for buying organic, pursuing “natural” medicinal remedies, and shopping at the local Farmer\’s Market, or even have reasons of preference for having “gifted” multilingual children, eventually attending graduate school, and working for a non-profit while pursuing my ambitions as a writer on the side… wait, uh, what was I saying?
It is, as a wiser man than I once described… what has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the Sun. There is nothing of which it can be said: “This is new!” for it has been already in the ages before us.
There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to be among those who come after.